A subsidiary of Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. has been billed for up to 1.9 billion dollars by oil firm BP to cover costs from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the company said on Tuesday.
The Japanese firm added that MOEX Offshore, wholly owned by a US unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., had withheld payment amid uncertainty "as to how to calculate the total claimed amount."
The company has not paid given "numerous ongoing investigations to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and given there is uncertainty at this time as to whether MOEX Offshore will have to make payment."
The firm had said earlier it would withhold payments requested by BP to cover costs for the huge Gulf of Mexico spill until the cause is fully revealed.
US firm Anadarko Petroleum Corp. owns a 25 per cent interest in the Macondo project operated by BP, and MOEX Offshore owns 10 per cent, while BP owns the rest.
The oil disaster began on April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in the Gulf, 50 miles (80 kilometres) off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers, and sank two days later.
The broken well was eventually plugged but not before it gushed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. The spill destroyed hundreds of miles of fragile coastlines and caused BP's shares to collapse.